Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people suffer after a car accident, especially rear-end collisions. The problem with whiplash injuries is that they can be difficult to prove, absent additional and more serious personal injury. Whiplash is different for everyone, and the severity of the injury will vary.
Because whiplash is unique to each person, insurance companies use this to deny whiplash injury claims and pay out lower settlements. You can take proactive steps, however, to combat the insurance company’s tactics by partnering with an experienced and trusted legal team.
Whiplash is caused by a sudden and forceful motion of the head moving back and forth. Usually caused by rear-end collisions, the whipping motion can tear the tiny muscles and tendons in your neck. This can make necks weaker and places extra strain on them, eventually leading to more injuries in the shoulders, arms, and back.
Because whiplash is different for everyone, the symptoms of whiplash can vary greatly. Keep an eye out for these most common symptoms in yourself or a loved one after a collision:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Reduced range of motion in the neck, back, and arms
- Lingering pain
- Numbness in arms
- Sore shoulders
- Pain while moving
Although whiplash symptoms can go away on their own, they may leave long-term consequences if not properly treated. Some symptoms linger for months, years, or even a lifetime. Therefore, it is crucial that you seek medical treatment immediately after any car accident. Even if you do not feel any pain now, you may feel pain later, something that could have been avoided with prompt medical care.
Whiplash Is Difficult to Prove
Because whiplash is different for everyone, it can be difficult to prove, as doctors do not have a single way to test accurately for whiplash. Even though whiplash is common, it is hard to diagnose because the injury is so subjective and unique to each person.
Some insurance companies have a practice of simply denying whiplash claims. They justify this action because some people attempt to fraudulently claim whiplash, knowing it is difficult to prove. Because insurance companies are on high alert for fraud, they often deny whiplash claims outright. Even if your claim is denied, you do not have to simply accept what the insurance company says. But you need to be prepared with evidence to prove your case.
The best evidence of whiplash is going to be your medical records. Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash do not show up on an MRI or an X-ray. Although your doctor should perform these tests to ensure you do not have any fractures, they will not show your whiplash injury. It is entirely subjective.
Your doctor’s notes about your pain will be what matters most, along with your own notes. When you see your doctor and describe your pain, they will record your descriptions in your medical records. Make sure you get copies of these records, as it will make it easier to include with your insurance claim.
Besides that, whiplash injuries often get worse over time. Therefore, you will want these notes recorded by your doctor. However, it is also important to record your own notes. Even though the insurance company will question you, having detailed records in your own words about your pain makes it more likely that you can have a successful claim or appeal.
As mentioned, medical records are a great way to provide evidence of your injury, but the timing of those records is also vital. If you wait a long time after your car accident to see a doctor, the insurance company will question whether your injuries resulted from your accident. Your doctor will include dates on every visit and record, so seeing your doctor right after your accident and regularly will be important.
You should also be sure to follow your doctor’s order strictly. If your doctor tells you to take it easy and rest but you go play sports, the insurance company will use that information to deny your claim. If you do not think your insurance company will find out you played sports against your doctor’s order, you are wrong. The insurance company will monitor your social media posts, and some even send private investigators to watch you and your actions.
The treatment plan your doctor comes up with will also be important. You need to follow that plan carefully, not only for your own health and wellbeing but also for your insurance claim. If you do not follow the treatment plan laid out by your doctor, your doctor may note that in your medical file and the insurance company could use that to deny your claim.
Vehicle damage can also be good evidence of your whiplash. Although no specific damage will guarantee that someone gets whiplash in an accident, rear-end collisions are the most common type of accident resulting in whiplash injuries. Getting a copy of the police report and accident record can help to show the accident you were in commonly results in whiplash.
When you file a claim with the insurance company, you may be limited in the amount of funds you can collect. Especially since whiplash injuries can last a long time and can get worse over time, your financial burden may increase. One of the best ways to ensure you get the money you need is to file a personal injury claim for damages against the negligent driver.
Although you will still have to deal with an insurance company, you may be able to collect larger sums of money, which will help you shoulder the financial burden related to your whiplash injuries. Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
What many people in car accidents fail to account for, beyond the vastness of their medical expenses, is lost income. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to get compensation for your lost wages. The longer you are out of work, the more likely you are to need additional financial support. This should not be your burden or that of your family. This should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver.
In addition, do not discount the amount of money it will take for you to recover. Whiplash may not be the only injury you have, especially if your accident is severe. Compounding the nature of all your injuries, you could be looking at substantial medical bills to ensure you make a complete recovery. Even if your only injury is whiplash, you may need to have multiple doctor visits, multiple medical tests, and endure rehabilitation and exercise. All of this comes at a steep price and should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver who caused your whiplash injury.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Help Clients Recover from Their Accident
Getting into a car accident can potentially have lifelong consequences. Although whiplash may not seem like a major injury, it is serious and can be connected to many other injuries. Proving your whiplash may not be simple, but with the right legal guidance, you may be able to make your case and collect appropriate compensation. To find out your next steps, reach out to the experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.